By Clifford Ndujihe
Baroness Tinuke Davies-Kesington is the woman leader of the Tinubu Support Organisation, TSO; and matron of the Asiwaju Volunteers Group, AVG. In this interview, she spoke on the kind of president needs after President Muhammadu Buhari, and why and how former Lagos State Governor and National Leader of the All Progressives Congress, APC, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu fits the bill.
On what informed the roles she was given in TSO and AVG
The mandate that I have been given stems from my involvement in politics in the United Kingdom, and my background in social policy development, which I engaged in not only in the United Kingdom, but internationally. My political career in the UK began in the early 1990s as a community organiser, securing votes within the Black and South Asian community for the UK Labour party. I then was elected as a Councillor, and through my work was able to secure a position as a policy adviser to the then Prime Minister Blair and subsequently to his predecessor because of other works I undertook as a member of their Think Tank.
Using this experience, I founded the British Nigerian Association of Councillors, to allow for Nigerians in London, to have a voice in the political system in the UK as well as being an integral part of Operation Black Votes, a national organisation, that worked to ensure that Black people in the United Kingdom, had their interests listened to and acted upon by government.
With my career in social policy, I was able to gain an international perspective on issues, around the social care, health, economics and family planning, protection of children and women’s issues, and the impact of government policies in these areas.
I undertook projects around social policy development in United Kingdom, Spain, Jamaica, United States, Canada, Nigeria, Ghana, the Philippines, St. Lucia. In Addition to these I have sat on boards of numerous governmental and organisations in the United Kingdom that focus on policy development. That is a snippet of my background and mandates that I have in working as Diaspora Women Leader
Some have been agitating that APC should jettison zoning. Do you agree with this and why?
On the one hand some argue zoning is required to allow for proper representation of our diverse tribes, on the other hand, some say that zoning shows that democracy in Nigeria is immature, and weak. Democracy is a western European ideology that has been implemented in Nigeria. Looking at the idea of zoning and the framework of democracy, it is not actually in alignment given that democracy at its core promotes freedom of access. Zonal politics is not aligned with actual democratic principles. It is not what would be expected in a country that purports to hold democratic values.
As the APC is, considering leaving zonal politics practices behind it shows political maturity, advancing knowledge and true alignment with democratic principles. Democratic ideology lends itself to people in a country, regardless of where they are from, being able to participate in the political process, and if they choose to serve, they can represent the interests of their constituents.
It is not so much whether I agree with Zoning or not rather we should focus on the best candidates, who can deliver the best outcomes for every community in Nigeria. That is what I agree with. I agree with what will improve the lives of Nigerians of every tribe and denomination.
As an APC leader, who do you think should emerge as the next presidential candidate of the party?
There are many fine potential candidates in the APC. We have heard of the aspirations of Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, Governor Yahaya Bello of Kogi State, APC National Leader, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, Senator Orji Uzor Kalu and the Governor of Ebonyi State, Dave Umahi.
They are all experienced politicians; they all have something to offer Nigeria, which needs a new direction to be able to compete in the global economic and political system.
The question of who should emerge is simple. It should be the candidate with the experience, determination and Intelligence, proven record and vision for the whole Nigeria; the candidate that can represent Nigeria on the world stage, who understands politics, is my preferred candidate. And that candidate is Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu.
Why do you think Tinubu stands a better chance?
Yes, there are other eminently qualified candidates. The field of candidates is excellent. Nigeria as a country is showing its advancement by producing world class statesmen as mentioned above. They are all credit to Nigeria. But in my professional judgement, Bola Ahmed Tinubu stands a better chance because he has over the years, not only being known as a politician, but has also become a brand that is embedded in the minds of Nigerians across all geographical locations.
Asiwaju Tinubu is not only a statesman but also brand. He has a unique vision for Nigeria, a Nigeria that is powerful, with her people healthy, prosperous, and educated.
Your preferred aspirant is experienced politician, but Nigeria needs more than a politician to lead this country. What other qualities do you think Tinubu posses to lift Nigeria?
I agree Nigeria needs more than a politician. Nigeria needs a visionary, a true visionary to guide the country into a better future. Therefore, we need Tinubu at this point in our history. Nigeria needs to advance rapidly and take a true leadership position in Africa. This requires a statesman, one who understands statecraft and one who cares about people and the people’s interests.
Tinubu dares to dream of a truly powerful Nigeria that gives its citizens chances in life, security, and the ability to dream and make their dreams a reality.
What does he need to do to win the APC ticket?
Bola Tinubu is a unifying force that Nigeria needs. Nigerians from all areas and tribes have immense respect and belief in Bola Ahmed Tinubu. They see a man that has transcended all tribal and religious barriers who will create a government that will reflect the country properly. Bola Tinubu is obsessed with making Nigeria great.
What do think Tinubu will do and should do differently if he becomes the next president?
I believe that Tinubu will be bold and courageous. He will take us to where Nigeria ought to be.
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